Friday, April 17, 2015

Open Thread: Places to Catch a Bite During the Nashville Film Festival

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 9:24 AM

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This week's cover story in the Scene is our annual user's guide to the Nashville Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday.

Among other coverage, Editor Jim Ridley has a helpful roundup of tips for attending the nine-day extravaganza of feature films, documentaries, animated and live-action shorts, special screenings, parties and more — including suggestions for grabbing a quick bite between films:

If your time is limited, Cheeseburger Charley's just down the concrete walkway from the theater is a decent option: that's where we saw visiting Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer one time. Vegetarians can make a sandwich off the condiment bar. Across the walkway from CC's, the little takeout market beside Table 3 has ready-made sandwiches and pastries available. If you can spare a five-minute walk — the sunshine will do you good — the hot bar at Whole Foods nearby is a fast option, and great for vegetarians. Ditto Kalamata's across Hillsboro Pike, which has good, fresh Mediterranean food. A slightly longer walk to Chipotle will give you an excuse to duck inside Parnassus Books — but remember, you've got a screening to catch.

If I have a little more time, I will go to the sit-down side of Table 3, or get takeout from Sixth and Pine, the restaurant in the basement of Nordstrom in The Mall at Green Hills next to the movie theater — one favorite is the turkey Reuben. If you're looking for dessert or a light bite, you should know that Goozy, the cafe and dessert spot that Carrington Fox reviewed positively in January, now has an outpost inside the mall (on the lower level near Macy's, in the old Christie Cookie spot).

As has been discussed at length in various forums, Green Hills is surprisingly short on good restaurants, and the ones that exist tend to be expensive. So I ask you, savvy diners of Bites Nation, where would you eat in the vicinity of NaFF?

And what else is on your mind this week?

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Dirty Pages Exhibit Ends With Storytelling Event

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 8:09 AM

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Have you been down to the Nashville Farmers' Market to view the Dirty Pages exhibit? Well, you'd better hurry, because the exhibition closes on April 20.

As we've reported, Dirty Pages is the project of three Nashville food writers, showcasing loved and spattered recipe pages and the Nashville women who treasure them. In case you needed any more incentive to visit, the ladies behind the Dirty Pages have arranged one more event to get you to the market. This Sunday, April 19, they've partnered with The Porch Writers' Collective for an evening of storytelling inspired by food.

The event runs 5 to 7 p.m., so you should have time to run on down after the Preds beat the Blackhawks in Chicago. (At least that's my plan.) A $10 donation is suggested to attend, with the proceeds benefiting The Porch's programming and operations. I'll be telling a story about Carey Bringle and his Peg Leg Porker barbecue team, which I call "Tales From the Competitive BBQ Trenches." I promise humor, pathos and an ice luge with Fireball running down the middle.

Other entertaining storytellers who will be sharing their experiences include my fellow Scene writer Nicki P. Wood, plus Jim Reams, Jennifer Justus, Erin Byers Murray, Sylvia Harrelson Ganier and Ryne Driscoll, so I'm certain there will be quite the melting pot of story topics. Come enjoy the show, and try not to heckle me too vociferously.

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nashville Spirits and Beer Score Highly in National Competitions

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 9:15 AM

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You know and I know that there are some pretty amazing beers and spirits coming out of Nashville, but every now and then it's nice to see our opinions validated by national media outlets and juried competitions. So if you're looking for such validation, check out recent accolades awarded to some of our local favorites over the past month or so.

Men's Journal magazine recently spent six months coming up with a list of the Top 101 Beers in America, and it's no surprise that Blackstone Brewing Company’s St. Charles Porter made the list. Over the years, St. Charles has been the most-awarded Brown Porter in the history of the ultracompetitive Great American Beer Festival, and after consulting a panel of regional experts and beer contest judges, Men's Journal concurs.

The list narrowed a selection of beers from almost 3,500 craft breweries from across the country to pick out just two beers from every state, plus one from Washington, D.C. You can see the good company that Blackstone sits among by checking out the whole list here.

In the world of liquor, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition is one of the most prestigious contests around. This year, Nelson's Green Brier Distillery made quite a splash with two iterations of their Belle Meade Bourbon.

Green Brier was awarded the highest medal rating of Double Gold twice for both the regular Belle Meade Bourbon and the special limited-edition Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish. In fact, the sherry finish achieved the highest honor of being named Best Special Barrel Bourbon in the entire competition. In a taste of things to come, the company's first distillate from their own new still near Marathon Village also won a bronze medal for their unaged whiskey. We'll have to wait awhile to see what judges think of it after it's spent a few years reposing in oak.

At the same competition in San Francisco, the local distributors behind the popular Trianon brand of tequilas won a prestigious medal for a product I didn't even know they represented. In the competitive Mezcal category, their new product Cruz de Fuego won a Double Gold Medal and Best of Class. Trianon is still awaiting label approval to begin importing Cruz de Fuego to the States, but I can't wait to try this juice out!

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First Bite: Murff’s Craft Brews and Burgers

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Murffs burger on jalapeno cheddar bun
  • Murff's burger on jalapeno cheddar bun
A few weeks ago, I reported on one of the latest restaurant openings in Brentwood, Murff's Craft Brews and Burgers. Brentwood is undergoing a flurry of construction and new restaurants, but most of them are big-name chains, so it’s nice to see an independent restaurant find a space.

My family and I actually visited the evening after I stopped in to ask about the opening. I wanted to make sure we could get in before it got too crowded. My daughter and I arrived around 5:30 p.m. to get a table on the patio and enjoyed some tasty fried pickles while we waited on my husband.

When he arrived, we ordered dinner; I had a Pop’s Famous Sandwich on sourdough and with grilled mushrooms instead of turkey and ham, and it was delicious (and they were more than gracious about accommodating my vegetarian substitutions). The sandwich came with a very generous order of delicious fries, lightly seasoned with Murff’s Mix seasoning. My husband built a burger that was the single-patty ground steak on a jalapeno-cheddar bun with a fried egg on top and house-made potato chips on the side (again, a generous portion and perfectly crispy and seasoned with Murff’s Mix).

It was a substantial sandwich, but he powered through it and declared it delicious. My daughter had a grilled-cheese sandwich and some fruit, so she was perfectly happy. And I was perfectly happy with the $4 price tag on the kid’s meal that also included a drink.

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Cocktails and Sushi? Count Me in, Thanks to Acme and Saffire

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 8:01 AM

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If I didn't know better, I'd say Tom Morales is trying to get me drunk. Morales is the owner of Acme Feed & Seed downtown and Saffire in the Factory at Franklin, and he's scheduled a couple of upcoming events that might require you to finally download that Uber app.

The first shindig is the Acme Feed & Seed Cocktail Competition which was rescheduled after some inclement weather earlier this year. (Imagine that, bartenders can't work with ice.) On Tuesday, April 21, beginning at 6 p.m., Acme is partnering with Angel’s Envy to host a cocktail competition on their second floor. Six of Nashville’s best bartenders will be shaking up their own signature Angel's Envy drink to be judged by a panel of celebrity cocktail lovers.

Tickets are free, but you must register at the event website to get your name on the guest list and for a chance to sample the entries.

The second event will be a sake and sushi tasting in the Blue Room at Saffire on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. Master sushi chef Luke Newman will lead assembled guests through a sampling of his specialty rolls paired with a selection of sakes.

Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased at this website.

Check out the menu:

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ryman Auditorium to Open Cafe Lula in June

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 12:21 PM

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You may recall that in June of last year, we reported that locally beloved historic venue Ryman "Mother Church of Country Music" Auditorium was planning a $14 million facelift. "She's put in her time," said your open-minded aunt. "Good for her if she wants to get a little work done!"

Among the announced changes was the addition of a “dedicated” cafe of the Fourth Avenue side of the venue, and today, further details about that cafe arrived. Turns out the restaurant will be named Cafe Lula (named after longtime Ryman manager Lula C. Naff, who retired in 1955) and is set to open in early June. Folks at the Ryman tell us the cafe "will have seating for approximately 80 guests inside and 30 more on a covered outdoor patio." Hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, with extended nighttime hours during concerts and other events.

As far as what kind of fare Lula will be serving, we're told the menu will put "an emphasis on rotisserie cooking and locally sourced ingredients available for both dine-in and grab-and-go service." There will also be an espresso bar for the a.m. and a full-service bar for the p.m. Oh, and they're hiring: They're holding a job fair on Thursday, April 23, at Ryman Hospitality. See more details on the positions they're looking to fill here.

See a mock-up of Cafe Lula above.

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The Nashville Food Project Announces Nourish Dinner Chef Roster

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 9:29 AM

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Of all the charitable dinners in town, the one that consistently brings the best chefs to cook in Nashville is Nourish, a benefit for the The Nashville Food Project. I can't count the number of James Beard-nominated and -winning chefs that I've been able to meet through the years at this event, and the atmosphere and cuisine is consistently excellent.

For the 2015 edition, Nourish will feature mainly local chefs, but I don't see how anyone could be disappointed with this roster. Check it out:

Tandy Wilson, City House
Karl Worley, Biscuit Love Brunch
Sean Brock, Husk
Levon Wallace, Cochon Butcher (coming soon to Nashville)
Rob Newton, Wilma Jean in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Scott Witherow, Olive and Sinclair

That's some heavyweight talent who I can imagine will have a lot of fun working together. The event will be held in the brand new Artisan Shed at the Nashville Farmers' Market on Tuesday, June 16, at 6 p.m. Tickets are now on sale at the website and will most certainly sell out.

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Make Plans for Earth Day at Centennial Park This Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 8:36 AM

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This Saturday, Nashville celebrates Earth Day in Centennial Park. Along with the exhibits on recycling (including drop-off centers for household items) and how to be more environmentally friendly, there will be a number of exhibitors focused on how to eat in a more earth-friendly way.

FarmOne.org from Hendersonville will be on site, and Community Food Advocates and community garden organizers will be on hand, as well as others holding demonstrations and providing information. In the Green/Farmers’ Market area, look for the 12South Farmers’ Market, Avalon Acres farm, Eli Mason cocktail mixers, Walker Feed Company and other farmers’ markets, farms and artisans.

There will also be lots of great food and beer. Among the food vendors are Music City Pie, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Ray's Wings & Things, Paradise Ridge Catering, The Grilled Cheeserie, Yayo’s OMG; Hoss’s Loaded Burgers, King Tut’s, Riffs Fine Street Food and a lot of other festival favorites. There will also be a beer garden, which will feature Blackstone Brewery’s Black Forest Kolsch, which helps fund tree plantings in the Nashville area, and Red Trail Ale, which helps fund the maintenance of trails in Percy Warner Park.

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12th and Pine Brings Italian Winemaker to 360 Bistro

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 7:33 AM

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If you're looking for a place to spend part of your tax refund, well, you're probably not a freelance food writer. But I do have some good advice for you. Ed Fryer of the new 12th and Pine wine store in the Gulch has been planning a series of wine dinners featuring some of his favorite winemakers, and he's kicking off the events with a doozy.

This Thursday, April 16, at 360 Bistro in West Nashville, Luca Fedrigo will be showcasing some of his amazing Italian wines paired with a five-course dinner prepared by chef Will Uhlhorn and the kitchen at 360. Fedrigo learned his craft as the assistant winemaker at Quintarelli Wines under the renowned Giuseppe Quintarelli. Fedrigo now practices his craft at L'Arco Winery in Northern Italy, and his wines are considered archetypical examples of the region's style.

The dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and costs $100 per person. Space is limited, so for reservations, call 360 Bistro at (615) 353-5604 or email ed at efselects@aol.com. Check out the menu image:

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Sweet Spot: I Drank a Gas Station Milkshake

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Thanks for the milkshake, robot.
  • Thanks for the milkshake, robot.
The Sweet Spot is a weekly Bites feature where sugar addict Megan Seling reviews some of the best, worst and weirdest sweet treats sold here in Nashville.

What it is: f'real Mint Chip Milkshake

Where I found it: Exxon Tiger Market at 1111 Broadway.

What it tastes like: I know, I know — a milkshake at a gas station? Made by a robot? Who would drink that?

Well, I would.

And it was not bad!

The f'real milkshake (the company insists on lowercase — who do they think they are, fun.?) wasn't nearly as chemical-filled and weird as you'd think, despite the fact it's sitting amongst a the landscape of other highly processed gas station foods, like glistening meat rods that spin on heated rollers all day. The f'real milkshake is simply a cup with some ice cream in it.

You choose your desired flavor from the freezer — they have mint chip, s'mores, cookies-and-cream, coffee and various fruit smoothies — and put the cup in the machine's cup holder. You push a few buttons and the machine lifts the ice-cream-filled cup up to the blending mechanism, squirts in some milk and whips the ice cream into a thick, creamy shake. Easy peasy. You have a milkshake in under a minute. You can even control how thick you'd like it. It's as good as any shake you'd make at home if you just blended some ice cream and milk, so it's not so much the product that leaves me filled with questions, it's the invention itself.

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